Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News
Wednesday, the national media was abuzz with talks of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) perhaps being willing to again negotiate with President Joe Biden on the Build Back Better plan; however, were Manchin to get his way, Build Back Better would pass in name only.
As reported by the Associated Press, Manchin has been noodling over a new version of Build Back Better that would get his vote. He has not yet revealed a detailed plan or an expected price tag, but the framework Manchin seems to have envisioned would result in a Build Back Better plan mostly lacking in social or environmental spending.
Instead, Manchin would prefer the bulk of funds under his version of Build Back Better to go towards fighting inflation and reducing the national deficit.
“If you want to talk, don’t you think you should get your financial house in order,” Manchin told AP. “If they’re not serious about inflation and debt, then it would be hard for me to negotiate on anything.”
The scale to which Manchin has been able to torpedo Build Back Better is objectively staggering. What began as a $6 trillion-plus plan that would have launched the Green New Deal, pumped billions into social justice programs, given Americans free community college and pre-school, and subsidized various elements of healthcare might only be able to pass as a substantially cheaper spending bill that would increase taxes on the wealthy and corporations, offer some element of prescription drug price control, and reward companies who reduce pollution with tax credits.
Importantly, this plan isn’t even a plan yet, and there have been no discussions between the Manchin and Biden camps about meeting.
During his State of the Union address, Biden never mentioned the phrase “Build Back Better,” but he did refer to a “plan” that he said would lead to lower inflation.
“My plan to fight inflation will lower your costs and lower the deficit,” Biden said. “Seventeen Nobel laureates in economics said my plan will ease long-term inflationary pressures. Top business leaders and, I believe, most Americans support the plan.” However, Biden indicated in his speech that he still harbored hope that the bigger items from his original Build Back Better plan could pass.
The “plan” featured several elements that seem to dovetail with Manchin’s as-yet-unfinalized proposal. The president said he wanted to lower prescription costs, curb energy costs (by fighting climate change), cut the cost of childcare, and make “corporations and wealthy Americans start paying their fair share.”
Any hopes Democrats might have of passing even a wholly different version of Build Back Better is slim. Republicans are expected to reclaim control of at least one house of Congress in this year’s midterms and, as reported by The Hill, Manchin has also reiterated his firm “no” vote on the bill as it exists currently.
Manchin seems to have been taken aback by Biden’s push for elements of Build Back Better during the State of the Union.
“They just can’t help themselves,” The Hill quoted Manchin as saying. “I don’t know where that came from.”
He added, “Nothing’s changed” and “There might be parts they want to talk about. I don’t know.”